PLEASE DONATE NOW TO JESUS CARITAS EST - WE NEED YOUR HELP
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
EUROPE : OVER 10000 READY FOR FLAME CONGRESS OF YOUTH
By: Jo Siedlecka IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT:
James Parker with Sr Catherine Holum
More than 10,000 young people are getting ready to converge on Wembley Stadium next month, in what looks set to be the largest gathering of young Catholics ever to take place in England and Wales.
Plans for the Flame Congress were unveiled at a press conference at the Bishops Conference headquarters in London on Thursday.
The event has been inspired by the tremendous reception given to Pope Benedict during his 2010 visit - his welcome by thousands of young people in the Piazza outside Westminster Cathedral, the Big Assembly at St Mary's in Twickenham, and the huge gathering in Hyde Park.
The timing also chimes well with the London Olympics. Pope John Paul II – himself a keen sportsman – wrote about the relationship between sport and faith. Among the speakers giving testimony will be several Olympians and Paralympians.
James Parker, the Catholic Church’s Executive Coordinator for the 2012 Games, who is currently organising hundreds of events in church communities around the country preparing for the Olympics, said: "this is once-in-a-lifetime global event which is really capturing the imagination of everyone and it has a special calling for young people. There will be opportunities to welcome the stranger, serve others, and be the hands of Christ during the 2012 Games."
Fr Dominic Howarth, Flame Congress coordinator said he hoped people would return to their communities after the Congress filled with fresh hope and inspiration. He added that young people from all denominations are welcome to take part.
The day-long event which will include music, animated by Edwin Fawcett, who has composed a special anthem for the day; drama, dance, and speakers - among them Paschal Uche, Barry and Margaret Mizen, Fr Timothy Radcliffe, on the theme of respect, Fr Christopher Jamison, Sr Catherine Holum from the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal in Leeds, and David Wells. There will also be a time for testimony. The organisers did consider having a Mass, but in the end, recalling the stunning silence of a more than a miliion people in Hyde Park after Pope Benedict placed the Blessed Sacrament on the altar, it was decided to have a time of silent Adoration at the Flane Congress. This will be lead by Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
Organisers say that 8,000 young people have already booked. Hexham and Newcastle Diocese have hired a train - dubbed the 'Flame Train' to bring their young people to Wembley. It is already fully booked but more will be coming on the usual scheduled service. Many youth groups are making a weekend of it coming to London for the weekend and taking in some sightseeing and theatre.
One organiser said: "It's not always easy being a young Catholic in today's world. But at an event like this, young people can find strength, inspiration and the excitement of realising they are not alone - in fact there are some quite cool Christians out there."
We will be bringing more information about the Flame Congress in future reports. To book your seats now see: http://www.cymfed.org/flame